Monday, November 30, 2009

I Wish I Could See into the Future. . .

But then again, maybe not. . .  (I'm not always sure I'd like what I'd see.)

Still, it would be interesting to glimpse what future generations will say about these times and those of us who are living them. 

Here's another one for the "I think this might make good reading in thirty years" file:

Climate-cult con is hard to 'bear'
by Andrea Peyser

When did global warming turn into a forced religion?
My daughter came home from school recently with a spring in her step and a song on her lips. With no foreshadowing -- or time to call an exorcist -- out came this chilling refrain:

" . . . You can hear the warning -- GLOBAL WARMING . . . "

By the time her father and I removed our jaws from the floor, we had learned that:

A) All the kids had been coerced into singing this catchy ditty, which we called "The Warming Song," at a concert for parents.

B) Further song lyrics scolded selfish adults (that would be us) for polluting our planet and causing a warming scourge that would, in no short order, kill all the polar bears and threaten the birds and bees.

C) There was no deprogramming session on the menu. And no arguing allowed.

The international "Climategate" scandal is now moving into its third week. And reaction from folks on the scientific and political left -- or is that redundant? -- who treat global warming as a cult in which naysayers must be crushed has been depressing:

Total denial.

The scandal began when someone hacked into the server at the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, England, and uncovered a cache of messages between leading warming gurus. These e-mails revealed guys deeply frustrated by planetary temperatures that, stubbornly, had refused to rise in some time. Were they afraid of losing their scientific juice? Or their funding?

So, as the e-mails prove, the scientists did something about it. They cooked the books to exaggerate global warming.

Of course! How can you scare the bejeezus out of little kids and small animals if you can't make the mercury move a millimeter? Simple. You lie.

But while one rival scientist predicted the shocking revelations would blast a "mushroom cloud" over theories of climate change, that has not come to pass.

The Obama administration's "climate adviser," Carol Browner, totally ignored the smoking e-mails, and attributed the scandal to "a very small group of people who continue to say this isn't a real problem, that we don't need to do anything."

"What am I going to do?" asked Browner. "Side with the couple of naysayers out there, or the 2,500 scientists?" -- who've drunk the Kool-Aid. "I'm sticking with the 2,500 scientists."

No less an authority than The New York Times sought to explain away the most damning e-mail, sent by scientist Phil Jones, who said he employed a "trick" to make temps appear higher than they were.

The paper quoted Dr. Michael Mann of Pennsylvania State University as saying he often used the word "trick" to refer to a good way to solve a problem. "And not something secret."

Is anyone home?

Our children are on the front lines of the warming hysteria, a place where "experts" from Al Gore to the president leave no room for dissent or even the slightest skepticism, despite claims that are no more provable than the Earth is flat.

Children were the targets of a book co-written by the producer of Al Gore's star-making vehicle, "An Inconvenient Truth" -- a fantastical view of global warming that should have been called a fiction, not a documentary.

Producer Laurie David told Publisher's Weekly that she wrote the kids' book, "Down-to-Earth Guide to Global Warming," because "kids also are the Number 1 influence on their parents, so if you want to reach the parents, go to the kids." She knows of which she speaks.

It may come to pass that global warming is real. Or not.

But your children won't get the truth from Al Gore, the president or the scientific community. Or sadly, from school.

Neither will you.

A comment someone left after the story grabbed my attention.  Here's part of it:
My children came home from school with a carbon footprint survey. The intent is that we as a school attempt to reduce our carbon footprint over the course of the year. The survey asks you questions about how often you flush the toilet, or if you wear clothing made from hemp. Your carbon foot print is decreased if you answer the questions "appropriately". My personal favorite is they ask if you have non-family members living in your house. Your carbon foot print decreases if you invite strangers to stay in your home.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Those Evil Ad Execs ;o)

I went to the TV Guide website this morning, just curious about what might be coming on tonight. (Wasting time, of course. Isn't that why the Internet was invented?) An ad caught my eye:

First, I thought, "Ah, trying to cash in on all the overeating people do this time of year." 

But for whatever reason, I couldn't look away, even though I actually haven't been overeating (or at least no more than usual) and didn't happen to be in dire need of the bubblegum-pink elixir.  No, I was transfixed for another reason-- namely, that the longer I looked at the ad, the more I felt that I could be queasy, if I just stared long enough. 

Is it just me, or does that Pepto-Bismol ad possess a mysterious nausea-inducing power?

I don't know if it's the shape of the. .  Pepto ooze, or its color. . . The sheen, perhaps.  The ease with which the mind likens it to the tumultuously quivering contents of an uneasy stomach. . .


Or maybe it's just that I've taken Pepto often enough that the mere thought of it is enough to make me feel sick. 

Anyway, I wonder if the Pepto ad designer purposely tried to make anyone who sees it feel ill.  Anything to boost sales, right?  ;o)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Modesty Personified

I don't know if you've noticed, but I've been trying to curb (most of) my political posts.  Though I could pretend that I do this in an attempt to not run off my few remaining readers ;o) the real reason is that thinking about it so much was probably not good for my blood pressure and general feeling of well-being.  So while I still try to keep up with the news-- and may occasionally blog about it (as I'm doing now)-- I'm also trying to not obsess over it or let it occupy too much of my conscious thought.  (Especially since it seems there's not much I can do about it, at the moment.)

That said, I still "follow" Drudge Report on Twitter, and one tweet this afternoon ran as follows:

"Obama leaves WH clutching GQ mag -- featuring himself..."

I clicked the link that was provided and saw this:

Yep, there he is, and he's holding a copy of the magazine with himself on the cover, just as advertised. 

Well, I'm sure there's a perfectly good reason for him to be toting around a copy of a magazine with himself on the cover-- I mean, other than the fact that it's such a totally awesome ego-boost to read articles about yourself.  Especially those in which you are touted as the Leader of the Year (woo hoo!) and one of your former (?) political opponents-- in this case Sarah Palin-- is denigrated as (and I quote) "dangerous" and "poisonous".

Yes, I'm sure he has a perfectly good reason for his choice of reading material-- just as I'm certain he has a logical explanation for why he's wearing something alarmingly similar to those hideous sandals* that come with Sugar Daddy Ken.

*To any men who might wear sandals like these-- and to the women who love them-- I don't intend to be mean here.  By all means, if you like those ugly sandals, wear them with pride.  For all I know, they could be the most comfortable shoes ever.  In any case, Heaven knows I'm not the one to give fashion advice.  I tend to wear what feels good to me, whether it's fashionable or not.  I just think they're kind of ugly shoes. . . But again, I own a pair of the ugliest slip-ons known to mankind, and I still wear them around the house and yard, because they're convenient and comfortable (and because they were dirt cheap).  I wouldn't wear them if the Prince invited me to the Royal Ball-- or on a quick shopping trip to Wal-Mart ;o)-- but the mail lady and UPS guy have seen them many times.  So far, neither have turned me in to the Fashion Police or stared at my feet in disbelief, for which fact I owe them a debt of gratitude.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Music, via YouTube :o)

I find myself in the mood to share a few songs I've been enjoying lately.
(I haven't done this for a while, have I?)

The featured artist today ;o) is Anna Ternheim, a Swedish singer/songwriter.  

First, here's her version of "Come Fly with Me":

Then here's "Quiet Night", which is the theme song for a series of Swedish crime/mystery films:

I'm not sure what motivated the choice for some of the photos in that video. Obviously a couple of them are of Anna Ternheim herself, and I thought maybe the rest were Swedish scenery-- but then there's that sci-fi/fantasy-looking one. Your guess is as good as mine. (g) Just something pretty to look at while you listen, I guess.

Next-- "Lovers Dream". (Or maybe "Lover's Dream"? I'm not sure...)

I think I prefer the version where she sings solo, but I can't find a video of it. . . It's very similar to this one in sound-- but she sings all the lyrics herself. (. . .Because that's what people do in solos. . . (g))

I love the musical saw in that last video. It's such a unique instrument.

This man manages to make it sound incredibly like a violin:

. . .But most of the time, I think it has a more unusual, distinctive sound with more vibrato (as in "Lovers Dream"). I'm having a hard time finding a good video of that, right now. . . plus I'm getting bored with the search. . . and this suddenly seems very familiar.  Might I have written about the musical saw before? Oh well. If I don't remember, maybe you won't, either. . .

Monday, November 16, 2009

I know what *I* want for Christmas. . . ;o)

Unfortunately, he won't be "out" (ahem-- take that as you will. . .) until April, so I'll just have to wait 'til then-- wait and save my pennies, because from the sound of it, he's going to be one expensive piece of plastic.

Here he is, in all his fabulosity-- It's the "Palm Beach Sugar Daddy" Ken doll!

Isn't he dreamy? ;o)

I don't know about you, but I just love a guy who can pull off this frou-frou girly-man look!
 Admit it, gals, you're drooling over your keyboards, right?

 . . . Have you finished staring in disbelief yet?  If not, I can wait another minute or two.

Done now?  Ok!  :o)

The expression on "Sugar Daddy's" face gives me the creeps, and those sandals are. . . Well, let's just say I don't like 'em.  As for the floral swimming trunks, the less said, the better.   And the rest of his wardrobe. . . Is it just me, or does it look like Maria from The Sound of Music whipped up his jacket from the remnants of her bedroom curtains, while she was making play clothes for the children?

. . .Only she saved the mismatched, ugly neon lime curtain for Sugar Daddy Ken.  (I can't blame her.  He certainly deserves no better than neon lime.)  

Apparently this is old news, but it was new to me.  The people behind the doll say he's called "Sugar Daddy" because he is "daddy" to a dog named "Sugar".

. . . Yeah.  Sure.  Whatever you say.

Oh, but they also mention that he's really intended for adult collectors (hence the outrageous price of $70-$82).

So which is it?  You can either play wide-eyed innocent and name the puppy "Sugar" or you can say he's designed for a strange bunch of adults who really, really need a metrosexual sugar daddy Ken to complete their collection.  You can't have it both ways. 

Well, this has been pointless, but just consider yourself lucky that it's not a political post.  ;o)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Tropical Storm Ida

Looks like we'll be getting a visit from Tropical Storm Ida. 

This shouldn't be too bad for us, since we're not right on the beach or in a flood zone, but we still might get some wind and rain out of it.  The main worry (to me, at least) is that this type of weather can produce isolated tornadoes.  It's not all that likely, but it's something to be aware of.  On the other hand, maybe Ida will have fizzled away to practically nothing by the time she gets here.  It's certainly possible.  We've had tropical weather before that was nowhere near as bad as some of our summertime afternoon thunderstorms.   

Some local schools are closed today, as is the county courthouse.  I'm glad I checked their juror information message again last night.  It would've been seriously annoying to drive all the way there, only to find the courthouse locked up and empty!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

New Glasses

If you read my Twitter tweets or my Project 365 blog or keep up with my Flickr photostream, you probably already know that our new glasses came on Saturday.  I thought I'd write a little about our experience with Zenni Optical for future reference and in case any of you might be interested in how it worked out. 

We were surprised to get them on Saturday, because the last update I'd read online placed them in California.  Even so, they were still a few days later than I'd expected.  I thought the website said they usually arrived within two weeks.  Now I think I may have misunderstood.  Maybe they usually ship in two weeks-- in which case they were almost exactly right on schedule.  They currently charge a flat rate of $4.95 for shipping & handling, which isn't bad-- especially when you're ordering more than one pair of glasses at a time. 

Our glasses came by USPS.  Each pair was individually packed in frosted translucent plastic cases-- nothing fancy, but good enough to get them here in one piece.  Each pair was also wrapped in a little grey cleaning cloth printed with the company name-- "Zenni". 

New Glasses - M's Pair #1

Now, we haven't taken them to be tested for accuracy, but so far as we can tell, they're perfectly good glasses.  They certainly seem to have gotten the prescriptions right, and they sent the exact frames we selected, too.  (g) 

These days, I've gotten more daring than I once was, when it comes to ordering trhings online-- mostly because you can get such good deals that way.  (Not to mention that sometimes it's the only way to get something that you can't find locally.)  However, choosing glasses frames online still seemed like a bit of a risk.  The website provides all the dimensions of the frames, so we were able to compare them against our old frames and try to visualize how the new ones might compare, but of course there's nothing like being able to try them on and see how they look on you.  It is a little risky, but considering the price of many of the glasses, it might be worth it.  Even if they turn out to look not quite like you'd hoped, you can use them as a back-up pair for emergencies, if nothing else. 

I think we're mostly satisfied with how our choices look "in real life".  It takes a little getting used to seeing myself in new frames, and I'm still adjusting to the fact that the lenses in these frames are smaller than the ones I had before (so the frames are more visible to me as I wear them), but I knew that would be an issue when I made my selections. 

One of my pair-- one of the molded plastic type-- needs a little adjusting.  They sit slightly crooked.  I think it's just a matter of warming them in water and very gently bending them (one of the arms, maybe).  (At least I think I've read online about that before...)  All things considered, though, that's a minor issue. 

The next time we need glasses, I'll definitely be looking online.  If they still have deals as good as the ones we got, I'll order online.

Note:  These were single vision glasses. (I imagine Zenni is just as good at producing bifocals, etc., but I don't have any personal experience ordering those online.  Bifocals and progressives do cost more than single vision glasses, of course, but I'm sure that's true no matter where you buy them.)  Though we got the anti-reflective coating, we decided not to spend more for the thinner (higher index) lenses.   Donald found a site that, based on your individual prescription, translates the difference into actual millimeters.  For both of us, the difference was miniscule-- certainly not worth an extra $17 or $37 per pair!

P.S.  If you want to see more photos of the glasses we ordered, check my Flickr photostream.

Jury Duty

An unforeseen side effect of the Project 365 blog seems to be that I don't post as often on this blog-- but maybe there have been some other contributing factors, as well.  I'll try to write more often so that I don't fall completely out of the habit.

- - - - - - -

I went Monday to my first day of jury duty.  It took longer than usual for them to get down to business, apparently because they're implementing some new system and learning its ins and outs.  For one thing, more jurors came than were needed, which seems strange, given that they are the ones sending out the summonses.  (That word just looks wrong...)  Maybe they usually expect a certain number of no-shows, and this group just happened to be more law-abiding than most.  In any case, they asked multiple times for anyone who'd rather defer their jury duty to a later date to come forward.  It seems that most people felt just as I did-- I'm already here now, so let's just get this over with.-- because it took several tries to finally get enough volunteers.  Now, if they'd offered to simply excuse some of us, there'd have been a stampede.  ;o) 

After we were finally divided into panels (and after a grand jury was selected-- just like last time), my panel and a few others were sent to sit outside a courtroom.  (It just happened to be the courtroom of the judge I remember from my last time as a juror.)  So, then we were left to wait some more, all the while looking forward to being asked questions about ourselves.  (Last time, at least two of the cases involved alcohol, so the questions seemed to revolve around whether or not we drank-- why or why not-- whether or not we had a problem with people who drink-- etc.  Honestly, that process of answering questions about myself in front of a room full of strangers was something I wasn't looking forward to.)  However, it turned out that we never even got inside the courtroom, as a plea deal was struck.

The clerk (or whatever the proper term is) explained that this situation was not unusual and that our being there was still important, because it helps get things moving by inducing people to plead, etc., etc.  It sounded very familiar, because I heard it once last time (only that time, I think it was after we'd gone through the striking process and I'd been selected as a juror), and I found myself wondering if that's just something they say to make us feel better about the fact that we've just wasted a half hour of our day by sitting silently in a hallway.  (g)  I guess it's true, but you wonder if those people were planning to plead all along and were just waiting until the last possible moment.  Procrastinating.  Darn lazy criminals!  ;o)

Anyway, we were released for the rest of the day after that, and for Tuesday and Wednesday, my panel has not been required to show up.  I'm sure it's only a matter of time, though, and we have to keep checking every evening for a period of two weeks (though of course they don't hold court on weekends or holidays).  At least now I've refamiliarized myself with the area around the courthouse, so it'll be less stressful getting there next time, and that first day is the worst, as far as waiting in lines goes. 

- - - - - - -

One more thing about jury duty-- something I remembered from last time and which still strikes me as odd. . .  Before swearing in the jurors, the judge asks if anyone feels that they can't serve on a jury for reasons of religious or personal conviction.  (I suppose these would be people who feel that they are incapable of judging another person or finding him/her guilty.  I can understand it, I guess, but I think it's a good thing for society that most of us don't feel that's a luxury we can afford.  Someone has to be willing to pass judgment or there'd be absolute chaos.)  Four people stepped forward and had to have semi-private discussions with the judge and a few other officials (away from the rest of us, but at the front of the room, in clear view).

Next, the judge lists a number of other reasons why we might be unable to serve.  Some of the reasons are as innocent as failing to meet a minimum age or the requirement of having lived in the county for the past six months.  Then there are things like felonies or having been convicted of crimes of moral turpitude.  You're instructed not to rise or raise your hand until after the judge has finished the list-- obviously in an effort to protect privacy-- but I can't help but look a little differently at those who go to the front of the courtroom after that. . . 

There's no real reason for mentioning this-- just that it feels so strange.  I couldn't help but feel that I should avert my eyes and not look at those people.  Partly out of sympathy, considering how embarrassed I would be to have to go up before all these people and have them stare and wonder about me.  Partly because if any of them are convicted felons, I don't want them mad at me.  ;o)

Also, I wonder why they decided to separate the religious/personal conviction people from the rest. . . Maybe to make it somehow easier for the first group. . .

Well, enough about jury duty.  Next post will probably be about our new glasses.